By Rudy Mondragon
In boxing, there has always been an “A Side” and a “B Side” when it comes to the two fighters stepping into the ring. Simply put, the “A Side” is the fighter who has the most power. I don’t mean punching power, I mean political power and leverage. Boxing is a business and fighters these days play multiple roles beyond their fighter role. They play the promoter role, the matchmaker role, and the negotiator. We see this done very well by Floyd Mayweather Jr. Miguel Cotto has said in an interview that he is the “A Side” and that the champion, Sergio Martinez, is the “B Side.” How is the “A Side” determined? Does it even matter any more if you are the legitimate champion? What are the factors that go into deciding one side of the coin over the other?
Below I will briefly discuss the different angles that can help us see more clearly who is the A and B Side between Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez in their upcoming June 7th, 2014 fight, which will take place at the Garden in New York.
Miguel Cotto has been on and off with Top Rank. Top Rank is one of the top boxing promotion companies in the game. Miguel has been able to find a way to fight under the Top Rank banner both as a member of their stable and as an independent partner. The partnership that Miguel has with Top Rank provides him with power in the context of the fight against Martinez. Sergio is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, the smaller of the two boxing promotion companies. Their top fighter is Sergio Martinez, whereas Top Rank has a larger stable with multiple big names (Manny Pacquiao, Mikey Garcia, Nonito Donaire, Juan M Marquez). As far as Promotional Companies, Miguel Cotto has the power and leverage here.
Round 1: Miguel Cotto
Next we look at the years both fighters have spent in professional boxing. The amount of years put into the sport are the dues one pays. In simply looking at these numbers, we see that Sergio Martinez has put in 17 professional years whereas Miguel Cotto has invested 13.
Round 2: Sergio Martinez
The boxing records of these two reflect the amount of years they have put into the sport. Sergio Martinez has a record of 51-2-2, with 28 KOs. Miguel Cotto has a record of 38-4, with 31 KOs. The amount of wins is on Sergio’s side whereas the amount of KOs favors Miguel Cotto. Miguel Cotto has fought in his weight class (welterweight) and went up to light middleweight when he outgrew the 147 limit. Sergio on the other hand, had a hard time finding opponents at the 154 lbs limit and moved up to the 160 limit when he fought Kelly Pavlik. He has since stayed at that weight class and in 7 middle weight fights, he has secured 4 stoppages.
Round 3: Sergio Martinez
Quality of Opponents
Boxing records tell us a lot. An important thing to look at when analyzing a boxer’s record is the quality of their opponents. Below are the top 5 fighters Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez have faced:
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr (Loss)
2. Manny Pacquiao (Loss)
3. Antonio Margarito (Loss and Won)
4. Shane Mosely (Won)
5. Zab Judah (Won)
1. Paul Williams (Loss and Won)
2. Antonio Margarito (Loss)
3. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (Won)
4. Kelly Pavlik (Won)
5. Kermit Cintron (Draw)
These opponents inform me that the quality of opponents faced favors Miguel Cotto.
Round 4: Miguel Cotto
Lastly, in analyzing the records of Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez, we see that Miguel has been in more title fights. Sergio has been in 19 title fights whereas Cotto has been in 27. The experience of being in title matches favors Miguel Cotto in this round.
Round 5: Miguel Cotto
The current champion between these two is Sergio Martinez. He holds the WBC middleweight title. This round goes to Sergio Martinez.
Round 6: Sergio Martinez
Fan base says a lot in boxing. Boxing is a national sport. A sport where fans uphold their nation and select a fighter to represent that land. In the case of Miguel Cotto, his fan base comes from the colonial USA commonwealth territory of Puerto Rico. Fight fans come in the bunches from Puerto Rico, having had the likes of Wilfred Benitez, Felix Trinidad, Hector Camacho, Wilfred Gomez, and others. Argentina on the other hand, has not had the same kind of following in boxing until recently. Names like Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse, and Sergio Martinez as of the last 5 years have put Argentina on the map of popular boxing. Due to the richness of boxing in the Puerto Rican community, Miguel Cotto earns this round.
Round 7: Miguel Cotto
Business as usual. Boxing is a business and what drives the “A Side” majority of the time unfortunately is pay-per-view sales. Who can boxing exploit as their cash cow? In this case, it is Miguel Cotto. His top three pay-per-view events as well as Sergio’s are listed below:
1. vs Floyd Mayweather Jr (1.5 million sales, $94 million)
2. vs Manny Pacquiao (1.25 million sales, $70 million)
3. vs Antonio Margarito II (600k sales)
1. vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (475k sales, $25 million)
Looking at the numbers alone, it is all Miguel Cotto. An argument can be made that Mayweather and Pacquiao drove those sales. Although the Argentine fan base is growing, there is no evidence that says that this will make a difference in the future ppv sales for this upcoming fight. Miguel Cotto’s track record in ppv sales speaks volumes and therefore earns Cotto another round.
Round 8: Miguel Cotto
So there you have it, 5 rounds to 3 for the winner, Miguel Cotto. Based on this, Miguel Cotto has the right to claim the “A Side.” It’s a wicked world when the “A Side” can be determined by the amount a fighter sales, promotional partnership, and fan base. More importance and emphasis on the quality of one’s opponents, title fights, and current title holder should hold more weight when making negotiations and writing out contracts. For a fighter who is not the champion, to say he is the “A Side” and validate that signals one of many problems that exists in the boxing world. Miguel Cotto is great, future Hall of Fame figure, but this fight is evenly matched with two “A Side” fighters. As Sergio Mora put it:
@TheeLatinSnake Question for a piece I’ll be working on: Who is the “A Side” between @RealMiguelCotto and @maravillabox? Be dope to quite u
— bloodmoneyboxing.com (@bloodmoneyboxin) May 13, 2014
@bloodmoneyboxin @RealMiguelCotto @maravillabox Tough one. Double AA. — Sergio Mora (@TheeLatinSnake) May 14, 2014